Nancy Atakan: I Believe / I Don't Believe

Istanbul

In the world today and throughout history, there are and have been innumerable belief systems. Such variables as our cultural backgrounds, place of origin, lived experiences, level of education, and languages, influence which belief system or systems seem true and reliable to us. One system may not be any more reliable than another, but every individual's, every religion's, every institution's, every academic discipline's, every community's, and every society's beliefs, in one way or the other, may be strong enough to start fatal wars, arguments, and disputes. Since the Renaissance, artists used mythology, a belief system no longer found true, to be able to depict sexual and socially unacceptable topics. In this exhibition, I include work related to my ideas about belief dating from as early as 2000 along side work made specifically for this exhibition.

For example, a performance piece entitled "I believe/ I don't believe" first performed at Galata Perform in 2008, was repeated. In this work that will be projected onto the upstairs gallery wall where it was taped, I tested the randomness of belief by dropping evil eyes into a bucket in a manner similar to pulling petals off flowers in the childhood game, "He love's me/He loves me not." But, here I say, "I believe/ I don't believe". A four meter pink neon sign, "Why not two gods?" made in 2003 for the Thessalonica Biennial will be installed on the outside of the gallery. Since the natural world consists of male and female species, like Luce Irigaray, I question the commonly accepted belief in one male God. "Between two voids" to be located on the passageway leading into the gallery deals with beliefs related to birth, life and death. Much has been speculated about 'after death', but little about 'before birth'. Perhaps 'time' is only the space between these two voids. In another video work, "I am not what you say I am," shot in a private space surrounded by gender related objects, I study images of my mother, a church, American and Turkish flags, and Moslem women before rejecting each as well as my physical reflection. At this stage of my life I accept that none of these are reliable definitions of who I am. Nancy Atakan, 2009